THE GLORIES OF FATHERHOOD
For many of us, Father's Day is a day to thank God for His many kindnesses towards our families and loved ones. Not only is fatherhood a blessing for fathers, but through the gift of inheritance, it is also a blessing for our sons and daughters. Those who are children of God also receive an inheritance - His glorious grace and mercy. But because men are fallen, the inheritance we bequeath to our children might not be as kind. Due to the organized attacks on fatherhood these days (by jealous demonic hosts in various societal spheres) fatherhood is quite the challenge.. These minions who serve the enemy's pride often compound their error through sorrow and self-doubt. Our children are often victims of whispering liars who don't have their good in mind, whether in the classroom, schoolyard, or the nearby alley. And like us, our children fall prey to servants of the enemy and fall by the wayside. Father's Day is an ever-present reminder of our spiritual walk and the hardships this life has to offer. But sorrow need not be the hallmark of the day - even when God's perfect mercy has yet to occur in our broken families.
I've often reflected on the purpose of fatherhood among men. We enter this world knowing nothing, clothed with nothing - each outfitted with the wealth and station befitting our house. We didn't earn it, though; in the fullness of time, we may own it, for better or worse. Furthermore, we often hear about the successes of our fathers and father's fathers on holidays when family get-togethers happen - but seldom do we learn of losses. Notably, these hidden losses are felt all the keener, as some of the more forbidding losses are spiritual and pass from father to son. Hidden, I say, but in truth, I mean unspoken. Beneath the scrutiny of men, blood curses of one sort or another eventually manifest for all to see and seem inexplicable and undeserved! Yet we suffer from these spiritual curses, whether acknowledged or not, and these bitter songs are not sung in the holiday halls of our family memory.
So, what has the Bible taught us about all of this? How can we survive and thrive on the storm-battered deck of our family's bark? And why did God allow for inheritance in the first place, seeing how all men fail as a rule? The answer is that men can only succeed through pure surrender to God. His universe is the perfect accountant, and not a jot or a title is ever overlooked. In the Bible, we learn that God's glory is the hidden treasure of His fatherhood to us and that the gift of spiritual inheritance is offered freely to all mankind, regardless of rank and station. To receive this inheritance, we must acknowledge His holy kingship and mastery of our families' name through His one and only Son, whose sacrifice paid for all.
Unlike man, God is perfect and the Father of all men! Psalm 139 reminds us that God "created our inmost being, [He] knit us in our mother's womb". Indeed, God was directly, perfectly, and miraculously involved in our inceptions. And His intimate knowledge of us did not end in the womb. He has been our companion ever since and witnesses our many errors - though we might forget this occasionally. He didn't abandon us in our trials but doubled down His investment! God sent His ONLY son as payment in full for all our sins. It wasn't a fair task to ask of Jesus, yet, Jesus gladly took up God's charge! Could we do this in service to our house? Did we, when the time was called? Importantly, it was a condition of familial inheritance that makes us joint heirs benefitting from Christ's perfect sacrifice. Had it not been for Jesus' payment for our many sins, we would not, could not ever call Heaven our home. Inheritance, therefore, has a purpose. And His Fathership for all men brings us together through His mercy, and being showered with His grace is more significant a treasure than any passed from mortal father to son. Being joint heirs and reborn sons of our Father-God more than makes up for our shortcomings. And this is such a beautiful thing of awe and wonder. Thus, despite our private misgivings and family tempests (public and private sorts), our own fatherhood is also glorious! Seeing our sons and daughters succeed where we failed - achieve what we dared not dream, these are glories. But even more so, where they discover God and His purpose, these fire embers glow with holy light - and this kindled fire comforts us as we sleep.
So, as I sit here and reflect on my own errors of the past with my children, Jesus whispers in my ear, 'Peace, I have this' and reminds me - that even my children are His - and He will call them home when they have suffered from their self-banishment enough. I am reminded God gave men free will. God-given 'free will' means they, like I before them, are given a license to make errors, as this was part of our bargain. I pray with all my heart that my children's trials - even the trials of all men's children - are less obstinate and less strident than my own! That they experience less loneliness, are less burdened, and are welcomed as His prodigal sons, just as I was when wakened to my errors! Please join me in repentance of our errors and contributions to their spiritual suffering, which may have burdened their paths, in agreement that the hidden errors of our father's fathers, which color and afflict their lives end quickly and finally. We thank You, Abba Father - for being THE ultimate example of a most perfect and loving Father, amen.
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